after six months of conflict, Westerners are still uniting behind kyiv
As the armed conflict bogs down on its territory, Ukraine celebrates, under the bombs, the national day of independence, Wednesday August 24, six months to the day after the start of the invasion of the country by Russia .
“We must be aware that [mercredi]loathsome Russian provocations and brutal strikes are possible”, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned on Tuesday. ” And we will of course respond to any manifestation of Russian terrorism.”he added.
Mr. Zelensky pledged earlier in the day to restore Ukrainian sovereignty over Crimea, annexed by Russia in 2014, in order to restore “world public order”.
We will take back Crimea, it is our territory. We will do it the way we decide. And we will make our decision alone, without consulting any other country.
French President Emmanuel Macron also raised his voice on Tuesday, urging the international community not to show“no weakness, no spirit of compromise” against Russia. Europeans are ready to support the “fight” from Ukraine ” in the time “he added to the attention of Volodymyr Zelensky, addressing by video the summit of the Crimean Platform, which brings together the main allies of Ukraine and which already existed before the invasion of February 24 .
New military aid for Ukraine
In their messages, other Western leaders also continued to strongly condemn the Russian offensive and rejected in advance the annexation referendums that Moscow wants to organize in the occupied territories, such as in Crimea in 2014.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz hammered “that no sham referendum or other attempts to change the status of certain parts of Ukrainian territory will be recognized”. denouncing “the unprovoked aggression of Ukraine by Russia”he promised to continue sanctions against Moscow and to send new military aid to kyiv of around 500 million euros, including air defense systems.
“We must continue to provide Ukraine with all necessary aid (economic, military, etc.) until Russia ends this war and withdraws its troops from all over Ukraine”added the British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson.
For their part, the United States must announce on Wednesday new military aid of around 3 billion dollars (3 billion euros), an American official said on Tuesday. This will be the largest envelope since the beginning of the war, which will allow kyiv to acquire new weapons or finance training or operations.
On the ground, since the withdrawal of Russian forces from around kyiv at the end of March, most of the fighting has been concentrated in the east – where Moscow slowly gained ground before the front froze – and in the South – where Ukrainian troops say they are carrying out a counter-offensive, which is also very slow. However, Russia continues to regularly target Ukrainian cities with long-range missiles, even though kyiv and its surroundings are rarely hit.
The Zaporijia power plant at the heart of tensions
In the south-east of the country, along the Dnieper, the Zaporijia nuclear power plant, near which strikes took place, continues to fuel tensions. Russia and Ukraine again accused each other on Tuesday at a meeting of the United Nations (UN) Security Council of endangering the facilities, while the UN General Secretariat called on them to cease all military activity around the site.
The Russian ambassador to the UN, Vassily Nebenzia, castigated Westerners who “live in a parallel reality in which the Russian army itself bombs the site it protects”. “No one can imagine that Ukraine would target a nuclear power plant by creating a huge risk of atomic disaster on its own territory”retorted the Ukrainian ambassador, Sergiy Kyslytsya.
French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna discussed with her Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov an inspection by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). This visit, intended for “reducing the risk of a serious nuclear accident in Europe”could take place “within a few days if the current negotiations are successful”IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi hoped, noting “additional damage in the area” after the bombardments of the last few days. Russia has proposed that this mission go to the site via Crimea, which Volodymyr Zelensky considers contrary to the laws of his country.
The funeral of Daria Douguina
In Russia, several hundred people gathered in Moscow on Tuesday for the funeral of Daria Douguina, the daughter of an ultranationalist ideologue and writer close to the Kremlin, killed on Saturday evening in the explosion of her car. Daria Dougina, a 29-year-old journalist and political scientist, was, like her father, Alexandre Douguine, fiercely in favor of the Russian offensive in Ukraine.
“It was a barbaric crime for which there can be no forgiveness (…). There can be no mercy for the organizers, sponsors and performers”reacted the head of Russian diplomacy, Sergei Lavrov. “She died at the front for the nation, for Russia. The forehead is here”dropped Mr. Dougin in a trembling voice.
Russian State Security (FSB) said on Monday that the attack was planned and carried out by Ukrainian intelligence services. kyiv denied these allegations outright and in return accused Russia of having committed this crime in an attempt to remobilize a public opinion less and less favorable to the war. “It is certainly not our responsibility. She is not a citizen of our country. She doesn’t interest us.”President Zelensky replied dryly on Tuesday.